Yesterday afternoon, we posted a situation report (SITREP) from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency as it prepared for severe winter weather across Georgia. The storm came in overnight and most of Georgia is now under a winter storm warning, ice storm warning, or freezing rain advisory. GEMA posted a new SITREP overnight and we’ve copied it here (six-page PDF) to continue yesterday’s discussion of what DEM and other emergency management agencies do in large, complex events.
Yesterday morning’s SITREP reflected the fact that GEMA was “leaning forward” – preparing for a known threat in advance of its actual arrival. A lot of resources were being staged across the state so they would be positioned, supplied, rested, and ready to go once the storm arrived. This new SITREP shows the shift from staging to response. If you compare the two documents, you’ll see a lot more detail. Several emergency support functions (ESFs) that weren’t heavily active before the storm arrived (most likely because it wasn’t appropriate or feasible for them to do a lot of pre-event staging) are now fully engaged in response actions. In particular, check out the discussion of generator availability under ESF-7 (Logistics), the hospital status reports coming in from ESF-8 (Public Health & Medical Services), and the increased activity within ESF-12 (Energy).
This SITREP covers a 12-hour period from 1900 (7:00 pm) yesterday to 0700 (7:00 am) today. This reflects the usual staffing rhythm of an emergency operations center, which typically runs two 12-hour shifts (or operational periods). Because of the need to brief the incoming personnel on the events of the operational period you just completed, a typical EOC workday actually can run 13 to 14 hours. We keep a sharp eye on our strategic coffee reserve during the overnight operational period.
(Side note: Analysis of the things other organizations do is a constant activity in emergency management and response agencies. We share a lot of best practices and lessons learned. We’re certainly sympathetic to what Georgia is dealing with right now – but the fact that we aren’t involved in that response gives us the luxury to observe and learn. When Kentucky’s next ice storm comes, we’ll be fully occupied with our own response actions.)